Fullscreen recommended.

Draw Nine puts you in the role of a magician whose powers depend on a pack of magic cards. These can help or harm, but the selection available to you is determined randomly at the start of the game. Since you cannot choose your cards, you must find the path through the world that makes the most of the powers at your disposal.

A game by Damon L. Wakes.

Artwork by Joe Wright.

Special thanks to Xalavier Nelson Jr.Felicity Drake, and everyone from IntroComp 2018, without whom this game would most likely not exist.


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I love this. Really atmospheric and well-written story with great replayability and interesting choices to make


I keep coming back to this for years now. I gotta ask how was this made?


I'm so glad it's made such an impression! This has absolutely made my day. :-)

The game was made with Twine, which I'm a huge fan of: it's really simple to pick up and use, but offers a lot of power and flexibility despite that. I've actually written a series of tutorials on it, and if you're curious how this particular game fits together you can actually import the HTML file back into Twine and explore its flowchart by following this one. (It might be a little hard to follow exactly how it works if you're unfamiliar with Twine, but the basic structure should be easy enough to grasp.)


A wonderful game! I only played once, this time, but intend to return.


Glad you liked it! There's plenty more to find on a second run through if you find time to come back. (I like to think it'll hold up to three or more plays, but at that point there'll be a fair bit of repetition.)

D: game gone

^^; Is it not showing up for you at all? I don't know what this means.

ah. sorry. i went to the download page but it says 'nothing is available for download yet.'

Aaaah - I think I see the confusion. It's a browser game, so there's no need to download anything in the first place. I'm guessing you may have got it in a bundle, and that the bundle links you straight to the empty downloads page. The game itself is right here: it should load within the page itself.

Very cool concept!


Oh I love this game. First time I played I got 3 of each was so fun! Same with my second run. Played a lot more times after that and I love the different dialogue depending on what cards were chosen!

Glad you liked it! I feel as though the game does work best when you've got roughly similar numbers of cards and have a bit of freedom to experiment with them (particularly at the beginning), but at the same time it's interesting to see what people make of it when they've just got tons of one to work with.


I believe I played this 10+ times in one sitting, as I'm a sucker for trying to read all the new dialogue. I still doubt I got to read everything. I like the fact that 'spider' is pretty """random""" based on other things that have happened. It always made me pause to check.

One note I saw was that the manticore dialogue for "spider" said "serpent" though. Just fyi. ;)

10/10, loved the game. Would have totally played something like this as a longer form game.

Thanks so much for playing - and for giving this such thought! I'm still planning to come back to it at some point (both Draw Nine itself, and hopefully the same basic idea for another game). It's tough to write because each step of the journey needs two locations and each of those locations needs four outcomes for the cards, but at the same time that does at least mean that the story will never branch uncontrollably.

I'm afraid I can't spot that mention of the serpent in the passage where you use the spider card against the manticore - there are two versions of the encounter so a fair bit to check through. Do you happen to remember if you saw it in the version where the manticore is defeated or the one where you just run away?


That would be super awesome, though I imagine that it would take a while. :) 

The worldbuilding of this game is also very well developed for what it is. Very neat.

Here's a screenshot! Hope it helps!

Ah! That's weird - the version I have here says "summoned creature." I submitted it to Backslash Lit a while ago and it's possible that what I'm looking at has already been through one more round of proofreading for that. Thanks very much for the screenshot. I would have really struggled to work that out without it (and I'll be sure to make sure it's fixed on Itch whenever I update the game).

Nice! Glad to help!

That was a nice moment ! Thank you for creating this game.

Thank you for playing! It's so good to know you enjoyed it.


Did a little review of your game!  Such an amazing job!  Thank you for your time and effort to put this together!

Thank you so much for sharing my work! I'm really glad you liked it. I can confirm there is currently no music, but I do have serious plans to add some: on my desk I've got the list of tracks, and in a spare tab I've got an audio library that I hope will do what I need it to. It's actually quite reassuring to hear that's a feature you'd like to see in the game!

Glad to be of assistance :D  And truly thank you for making such an amazing experience.  Can't wait to see what comes of any updates you have!


I loved it!


That was a neat choose your adventure! Unique take on the idea! Well done! 


Aaaa, this was really great!! Really enjoyed the writing and the mechanism, very unique.


I loved every second of this story... I am tempted to go back and do it again but with different choices but I know that it will be heavily similar. I wish it was a bit longer but obviously, I only get 9 cards haha. (9/9 for every card I used)


You can actually get a fairly unique second run through by visiting locations that you didn't before. There will be broad similarities (especially at the beginning and end) but also a lot of material you can't possibly see on a single try. Third runs onwards are likely to start looking pretty familiar, though. Glad you liked the game!


Enjoyable! Strong, clear prose, and all the symbols here were used with purpose instead of as decoration. :) It's so hard to find hypertext fiction that isn't needlessly obtuse. The use of cards was also really clever! My only wish is that there were more choices--even just little flavor choices, especially as the sections get longer. For me, I like IF because I could pick up a short story anytime, but only an interactive short story on my computer. :)


Glad you liked it! I was quite keen while writing this to stick to a very rigid structure that offered the same sequence of choices on every run through, but having finished the thing I do wonder how this kind of system would work as part of a Fighting Fantasy style story that offered a wider range of options. It's something I may well come back to.

Would love to see it! I think you have your voice would fit very well with a gamebook.


Oh hello, everyone… I made a little YouTube video of a play through of the game if you are intrigued.



Thank you so much for doing this! I actually managed to catch it live on Twitch - it was great to see your choices in real time. Very well read, too!

Lovely, thanks :)

Fantastically written, and genuinely meaningful decisions!

This was really fun and thought-provoking in a solitary way. I loved that there was an element of unknown even as you chose which cards to use. I also love the ending. Wonderful!


I really enjoyed this! I also, like another commenter, assumed death was possible until I read that it wasn't. How many endings are there in total? My guess is 6, one for each final card and then the choice to use it or not.


I did try and give the impression that there was an element of danger to each choice, so I'm really glad it gives that impression. In terms of the actual number of endings, it's hard to say. The final card remaining (and the choice whether or not to use it) aren't the only factors that determine the outcome - the game silently tracks some other details throughout your journey - but some have more of an influence than others.

Could we get a .exe? I have problems running in-browser games.

I'm hoping to release standalone versions at some point - certainly a .apk for Android - but probably not until I've made some further changes. I've done that once before and it was difficult enough that I'd like to make sure the game itself is 100% polished before I try.

Then i'll have to be patient i guess :)

Thanks for understanding. This was pretty much the best work I could do at the point I initially released it, but thanks to the feedback here on Itch I feel as though I can refine it a step further now. I hope it'll be worth the wait!


I. Love. This. Game. I would gladly pay 5-10 dollars for this game to be double the length and have like 5 cards instead of 3.


That's so good to hear! I have thought about coming back to the format, quite possibly with a wider range of cards. The challenge would be still making the choices meaningful when you (usually) have a bunch of different options - I think it would probably have to up the stakes so that some choices resulted in death.


I actually thought that there was a chance of death when i started but there wasnt. My personal opinion? Dont add death add lots(i mean lots) of endings and if you mess up in spots that you think it would jus be easier to kill the player in you should take the hard route and turn it into a guaranteed pathway to a bad ending.


Wow this is a fun game. Started off with 6 snakes and still manged to be a good person.


Thanks for including this game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality! It was a fun play.


This was amazing! I got a really rough draw right off the bat - 5 snakes ahah, not the best impression! but i made it thru and had a good ending. the potential for replay is obvious!

(1 edit) (+1)

Haha! Yeah, that's a tough one. In terms of the actual opportunities available, five snakes shouldn't really limit you any more than five steeds, but I feel as though the story outcome for using them in a non-ideal situation tends to be a little more negative. I expect it makes for some especially difficult choices on a first play through.


Wow, I loved this! The writing was absolutely wonderful and the story so compelling. Thank you for making this and including it in the equality bundle!


this was so lovely! the rng added a wonderful layer to this story, and the magic system was truly excellent. the writing was also very engaging - can't wait to replay this and see what other endings i get! :)


Glad you liked it! There are quite a lot of other options along the way - you can easily run through a second time without repeating any encounters besides the very beginning and very end, and seeing every possible ending will likely demand a certain level of familiarity with them (and a little bit of luck).


A very enjoyable game ! I loved the choices I made and their outcomes. The writing was beautiful and the story really interesting. I will have to play again to see other way this could have ended.


A true gem of interactive fiction.


This is lit. Love it! I'm going to play again and again :)


Hey that was great! The writing is a+, and I really like the premise of random cards with generic defend/attack/'flip a coin and hope for the best' effects. I got lucky on my first playthrough and was able to save the card I wanted for last; and on replays it was really fun to see how different sets of cards would affect the way I tackled obstacles (and sometimes which path I chose)!

I saw you address this in someone elses’s comment but I’m still gonna +1 that the font can be hard to parse at times, and a more dyslexia-friendly alternative would be nice to have. Other than that tho it’s a solid little game and I enjoyed it immensely!


You might want to check out the demo for The Witch's Yarn. It uses a similar control scheme for IF.  It was released in 2006, I think.

Played through it many times

Very nice and enjoyable game! Thanks!


This was time well-spent! A very enjoyable read, and I'm glad RNG decided to be nice to me for once lol

Looking forward to going through it once more on a later date, if only just to see one of the other possible outcomes.


This was a small joy; very well-written. Will be eager to revisit again.

really fun! Thanks!


Really good, loved this, felt good about the path I took! Interesting how the cards played out in different contexts, that was creative.

That was a very nice read. I am glad that kindess was a choice at the end.


This sure was an enjoyable read! Nice work!

I agree with Coyoteclaw11 about the cards keeping a description about their enchantment. I had a small blackout in the beginning with their effects, so it would've helped if there would've been a description that helped me remember.


Oh wow that was a lot of fun and a great read. I think I got a pretty lucky set of cards, and although not every challenge went entirely my way, I'm happy the last one was able to end with kindness. 

My only critique is that the heavily stylized text on a textured background like that isn't the easiest to read. It was doable for me, but may be a lot more difficult if not impossible for others.

I'd also love it if the cards kept a small description of their enchantment throughout the story. I quickly forgot what one of my cards stood for and pretty much just played it by chance.

Thanks for the feedback! I've always intended to come back to this and at the very least put together an Android version, and I think I'll take the opportunity to adjust some other elements of the game as well. I've got a little more experience styling things with Twine since making this and I think if I were to go back and make changes, I'd probably limit the current font to titles and links, and use a slightly more normal serif font for the main text.

I could possibly dial back the level of detail in the background as well. I started off with a blank parchment stock image and blurred/lightened it until it seemed to provide good contrast for the black text, but it could probably be taken a step further towards a solid background without losing the overall effect.

By the way, if the card you forgot was the spider then its effect literally is chance anyway! I was in two minds about including it because having a lot of them greatly reduces the player's influence over the story, but figured it would allow people to hedge their bets on a first run (since it's got a 50% chance of a good result any time it's used) and increase replayability for anyone interested in discovering all the possible options.


Yeah, my biggest issue with this was the amount of "I have no idea what this is going to do" except that snakes kill and steeds possibly carry me out of danger.  There needs to be a Tooltip, at the very least, to show what the card types are for after the start; it'd be nice to have them numbered up in the corner somewhere so that even when the cards are not on the table you know which ones you have left.

Also -- although perhaps you've already accounted for this -- in playing the game through a second or third time, it'd be nice to see the number of choices that you haven't taken under a given choice, making it easier to hunt through and find paths you haven't yet explored.  And maybe it could keep track of which cards you used on previous encounters with a given location/scenario (and perhaps provide you with a "mystic view of the future" or whatever, as to what lay down that path (that you already tread last time)), so that you could decide whether to use the same card or a different one.

Overall, pretty enjoyable!  Although I wasn't sure if using the snake card at the start was a key factor or just one of many in the ending I got.  I'm a Spade, so it felt right to do the thing that most good-style players wouldn't use (plus, at the time, I was under the impression that perhaps the snake would do something other than kill).


That's actually pretty much what I was hoping people would pick up from a first run.  The exact effects are up for grabs - the steed has the ability to weep money, for example, which I would hardly expect anyone to guess up front - but basically boil down to benevolent/non-violent versus threatening/lethal. This was partly an exercise in giving the player abilities that would never be universally good or bad, so killing things with the serpent is a "right" choice as often as not (and likewise, the steed is only "good" in situations where it won't leave other travellers stuck with whatever threat you use it to escape).

I have been thinking about including some kind of expandable menu/footer (partly because I'm considering adding audio and should probably have a switch to toggle it on and off). That might offer an unobtrusive way of letting players check what cards they have. It could also just be shown in the corner somewhere, but I'm less confident of my ability to drop it in neatly than I am setting up some kind of show/hide function.

Including a system to track and describe already-seen choices could be neat, but would take an amount of work that I feel is disproportionate to the amount of use people would get out of it. However, I might be able to use colour-coded hyperlinks to track previously visited passages without too much trouble: you wouldn't get a reminder of exactly what the outcome was, but you would have a small clue on screen to indicate that you'd made that choice at least once already. I'll seriously think about it for the Android version, since I imagine that anybody who goes to the trouble of installing the thing would probably be more likely to try and explore all of it.

Thanks for the comment! I'm really glad you enjoyed the game.

<beelinespan class="beeline-node">Remembered links would likely be sufficient, especially as you get near the end of the game and even if you tried to get 100%.  (I'm not generally a 100%er, but I am a Spade, and digging into the little details of a small game is a lot of fun.)  Kinda reminds me of a pattern I saw once for a computer that taught itself a tiny (3x3) version of chess... and was made out of matchboxes, no electricity involved.  (Every time the human wins, remove the bead that indicates the move that made the computer lose.  Eventually, the computer becomes unbeatable.)</beelinespan>

<beelinespan class="beeline-node">The lack of always-good or always-bad options is a nice touch.  I have a storytelling card deck I've been designing with that general theme, which is kinda based around balance or wisdom (the portion of wisdom that judges when to use Tactic A and when to use Tactic B and when to choose a third option).  Like how following authority can be good in one circumstance and bad in another, or how violence can be appropriate in some cases but not in others, or how Nature vs. Technology sometimes goes one way, sometimes another, or how loyalty is not a positive quality when it ties you to a bad person/force.  Even the Loss cards are understood to be a positive change sometimes, and other times a road block that you get stuck in and need to move beyond.</beelinespan>

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